Asian markets track Wall St rally

Tokyo led gains across Asian markets again Tuesday in another day thinned by the Lunar New Year break, with sentiment boosted once more by a surge on Wall Street. Tech

firms provided the support in New York as traders gear up for the release of earnings from big-ticket firms including Microsoft and Intel. Hopes that the Federal Reserve

will slow down its pace of interest rate hikes have also given investors optimism that the US economy could avert a recession, or at least suffer only a mild

contraction. The gains come after markets suffered a wobble last week on worries about a downturn caused by a series of interest rate hikes last year aimed at bringing

inflation down from decades highs. "With little new news to guide sentiment, the overnight (on Wall Street) move could be a product of investors getting comfortable with the

current macro backdrop while cleaning the slate of last week's trepidation or simply positioning ahead on next week's (Fed policy decision)," said SPI Asset Management's Stephen

Innes. He added that inflation coming down suggested the days of jumbo 75-basis-point hikes were in the past, with "most officials across the hawk-and-dove spectrum

signalling a preference for a slower rate hike pace". After Wall Street's rally, Asia picked up the baton on Tuesday, though most markets were shut for the

holidays. Tokyo added more than one percent again while Sydney, Manila, Jakarta and Wellington were also well up. But while the year has started on a positive note,

BlackRock Investment Institute strategists had a word of warning.